C-Section: everything you need to know
Historical records, folklore, ancient drawings and even mythology are replete with accounts of a C-section or cesarean deliveries.
Although the exact origin of the procedure is not clear, there are different accounts of how it started. According to one account, the procedure got its name under Roman law during the reign of Caesar where it was ordered that women who died or have no chance of surviving childbirth must be cut open to save the child.
Other schools of thought have it that the word caesarean is derived from the Latin word “caedare” which means to cut open and has its origin from religious edicts requiring a woman to be cut open and infant might be detached from the mother and buried separately.
During the early years of C-section, the procedure was carried out only when the mother was dead or dying, and there was an attempt to save the life of the child. But C-sectionhas evolved from the original purpose which was basically to save or recover the infant from a dead or dying mother to now become a common practice in childbirth.
As a procedure of last resort in the early years, the aim was not to save the mother’s life. It was around the nineteenth century that the medical profession saw the possibility of saving both the child and mother’s life in the process.
Today, C-sections are not only carried out during emergencies. More and more women are opting for the procedure as a matter of choice. The culture of stigmatizing women for having C-sections is going out of style.
This procedure can be categorized into:
An emergency C-sectionor delivery is carried out on a pregnant woman when from all indications, normal vaginal delivery is prolonged or when the life of the mother or child is at risk. In this case, when doctors notice the inability of the woman to go through with the pregnancy and give birth through normal vaginal delivery, a C-sectionis performed.
There are many conditions that can lead to an emergency C-section. Some of these include:
• Breech birth
• High blood pressure
• The expectant mother has an infectious disease
• Small birth canal
• Baby is tangled in the umbilical cord
• Baby not getting enough oxygen
• Delayed or stuck labour
• Transverse labour
When pregnant women opt to have a C-sectionwhen there is no emergency or when they are not in any imminent danger, then their C-sectionis planned.
There are two types of planned C-sections. The medical and non-medical planned C-section.
a) The planned medical C-section
Sometimes the medical condition of women may lead to the performance of a C-section. An example of this is where a woman may need to deliver her baby before the due date. In this case, the woman is closely monitored by her doctor and midwife until the time is ripe for the C-section. Some of the reasons for a planned medical C-sectioninclude:
• Where a woman is expecting two or more babies
• Where the baby is in a difficult position.
• Woman with low lying placenta
• Babies sharing one placenta,
• Where a woman is HIV positive or has another infectious disease etc.
b) The unplanned medical C-section
More and more women are choosing to have C-sections even when they don’t have any medical reasons for it. For example, there are many women who have had painful experiences with their earlier deliveries and who do not want to go through the same pain. There are still others who are just too scared to try a vaginal birth.
Although the C-sectionhas attained a popular and widespread practice, there are still some risks involved in it. The C-sectioninvolves the cutting of both the woman’s abdomen and uterus. It, therefore, carries some risks just like all major surgeries.
Some of the risks of C-sectioninclude:
Woman contracting infection
Baby contraction infection
Problems for the baby when the procedure is performed early
risks in future pregnancies
longer recovery period and so on
For those billed to have an emergency C-section, there is very little they can do. That is why all pregnant women are advised to prepare for a C-sectionwhether you want it or not. Pregnant women should exercise and eat healthy meals as research studies have shown that obese women are more likely to have surgical complications than women who are not obese.
The first procedure involves the anesthesiologist giving you an injection of anaesthesia numbing your lower body. You will also be given a drink for your stomach acids, A catheter will be attached to your urethra for passing urine.
Inside the operating theatre, the nurse will shave your privates and the operation will commence. During the surgery, although you won’t feel any pain you will be awake throughout the whole procedure which takes just a few minutes after the incision.
After the surgery, some women feel nauseous and itchy as the anaesthesia wears off. The woman is then put in the recovery room where they are closely monitored for any complications.
Contrary to popular opinion, a C-sectionis actually not a bad thing. It just is. If the doctor recommends one, it is likely because your life is at risk or your baby is at risk.
Gone are the days when Nigerian pastors spent hours praying against caesarean sections. Think of it this way: God, in his infinite wisdom, gave medical experts the inspiration to devise such a complicated procedure to save lives.
A CS is not the end of the world. It is the beginning of a new phase. You will recover and your baby will thank you for making the right decision for both of you.
Resources: US National Library of Medicine